Good Card Games (You Might not have Heard of)

These are very good card games with very few rules.


This is an excellent game. It is similar to war except you choose which card to play. Player with the most points wins.

Divide the deck of cards into suits. Each player gets one suit (two or three may play) and one suit is shuffled and placed face-down on the table. The cards from this final suit are placed face up, one at a time, and a war is held over that card. Each person selects which card to play, and the highest card wins. King is high, ace is low. The player winning the war wins that card. The six, for example, counts as six points. The ace is 1 point and the king is 13 points. All played cards are left face up and of course cannot be used again.

In case of a tie, the card is set aside and given to person who wins the next war. If that too is a tie, both cards are set aside until someone wins a war. When too players tie in a three-person game, the card goes to whichever of those two first beats the other in a war.

This is not a completely obscure game; you will find it in the Wikipedia. The name stands for Game Of Pure Strategy.


I was told this was named after Steve Whitman (and that his middle name is Tory). It is played with 11 cards, the ace through jack of hearts. The goal is to guess the unknown card.

Each person is dealt 5 cards. The last card is placed face down. On each turn, a player may either ask the other player about a card, or guess the face down card. For example, the first player might ask the second player if he/she has the six.

The second player puts the six face up, if he/she has it. The first player's turn is then over. The interest in the game occurs when the second player does not have the six. The question becomes, does the first player have the six? The second player can guess that the hidden card is the six. If the second player decides not, then he asks about a different card, like the ace of hearts. The first player then either guesses the six, if he/she does not have it, or displays and leaves face up the six if he/she has it.

Pass the Ace

This is not a deep game, but it is good for parties. About 6 people is the best and children can play. The goal is to not end up with the lowest card. Ace is low.

Each person is dealt one card. The person to the left of the dealer starts. He/she may trade with the person on his/her left. Each player in turn then decides whether or not to trade. The person on the left must trade, except if that person has a king. The dealer trades with the deck, if he/she wants to trade. Then all cards are shown and the loser is the person with the lowest card.


I invented this game. The game (and hence strategy) seems be fairly unusual. Played with 3 people.

The player to the left of the dealer receives 5 cards. He/she may discard as many cards as he/she wants, and receives the same amount from the deck, leaving him/her with 5 cards. The second player receives the first player's discards and enough cards from the deck to make 5 cards. He/she then discards and receives the same number of cards from the deck. Finally, the dealer receives these discards and more cards to make it up to five, then the dealer can discard and receive new cards.

So every player ends up with 5 cards. These cards are added, to make the count for the hand. Ace counts as 1, six is 6, and face cards are 10. At this point, the dealer declares high, middle, or low. If the dealer declares high, the dealer wins if his/her hand has the highest count. If the dealer declares low, he/she wins with the lowest count, and if the dealer declares middle, he/she wins if his/her count is in the middle. If the dealer wins, he/she scores a point.

Because the dealer has a substantial advantage, ties go against the dealer. And if the dealer loses, both opponents receive a point, so the nondealers should try to cooperate.

You can pass the deal every hand, or let each person deal 10 times in a row.